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Spot On is a series of community conversations designed to illuminate the major themes of selected plays in Northern Stage’s main stage season. Featuring artists, academics, community leaders, and inspirational figures you will want to hear from, these conversations are curated to spark resonant dialogue among our community members. Conversations take place prior to a Sunday afternoon performance: talks begin at 3 PM and end at 4 PM and – NEW this season – are followed by receptions in the Roesch Family Lobby with light snacks and beverages. Spot On conversations are free and open to the public, but you must reserve your seat by contacting the Box Office at or by calling (802) 296-7000.

Spot On Conversations are sponsored by

2018-19 Spot On Conversations:

Spot On Oslo: Peacemakers and Paths to Hope
September 23, 3 – 4 PM

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. ~ Nelson Mandela

What does it take to be a peacemaker in today’s tumultuous world? How do individuals play a role in peacemaking? In this, the 25th Anniversary of the 1993 Oslo Accord, Northern Stage is proud to present a Spot On conversation about cultivating peace locally and internationally. With Northern Stage’s regional premiere production of J.T. Rogers’s Tony Award-winning play Oslo and the historical events and people surrounding the 1993 Oslo Accord as a jumping off point, this discussion will center around the international history, culture, and society of the modern Middle East. Spot On Oslo features Bernard Avishai and Ezzedine Choukri Fishere in conversation with Oslo director Peter Hackett and Northern Stage Director of Artistic Outreach Amanda Rafuse.

Spot On Dear Elizabeth: Imagination, Freedom, and Poetry
October 14, 3 – 4 PM
Free and Open to the Public, Reception to Follow
NEW this season: Book your free Spot On tickets through the Box Office at (802) 296-7000 or
Ticketed performance of Dear Elizabeth begins at 5 PM

The first thing democracy requires is also the first thing poetry requires, namely, imagination…In democracy and poetry we are all “one of them, too,” but only if we exercise our imaginations in acts that are both compassionate and metaphysical, both discerning and fearless, both common and radical. Such transport is human and thereby nation-saving business. ~ Chard deNiord, excerpts from Democracy and Poetry Both Require Imagination (Brattleboro Reformer, 7-23-18)

Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth follows the beautiful and bittersweet friendship between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell as told through the letters they wrote to one another. But what place does poetry hold in our modern culture, community, or democracy? Join us for a Spot On conversation featuring Vermont’s Poet Laureate Chard deNiord discussing Bishop, Lowell, their relationship, and the role of poetry in our world today.

Chard deNiord is the poet laureate of Vermont and author of six books of poetry, including Interstate, (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), Speaking in Turn (a collaboration with Tony Sanders, Gnomon Press, 2011), Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990), a book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs (Marick Press, 2011), as well as a forthcoming book of interviews with ten contemporary American poets titled I Would Lie To You If I Could (University of Pittsburgh Press). He teaches English and creative writing at Providence College, where he is a professor of English. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, The American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, The New York Times, Best American Poetry, and The Pushcart PrizeClick here to read his article on democracy and poetry.

Spot On Venus Rising: Dignified Decision Making
February 3, 3 – 4 PM
Free and Open to the Public, with lobby reception to follow
NEW this season: Book your free Spot On tickets through the Box Office at (802) 296-7000 or
Ticketed performance of Venus Rising begins at 5 PM

Playwright Marisa Smith is a master of examining tough topics through a lens of compassion, humanity, and humor. Venus Rising may have you laughing so hard you don’t notice that divorce, mother-daughter dynamics, end-of-life choices, and opioid addiction are all tackled while loving insults, english muffins, and popsicles fly through the air. On February 3, we invite you to join Marisa Smith, Cameron Ford (Executive Director of Headrest), and Donna Soltura (Continuing Care Manager for the Palliative Care Service at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center) for a conversation about decision making for the best life possible. From dating to mediating pain to money, who gets a say in the decisions we make as we age?